A Tennessee teenager who started a campaign page to pay her college fees after her father cut her off for dating a black man has raised more than $30,000 (£25,000) despite accusations of racism.
Private high-school student Allie Dowdle claims her father has stripped her of her savings and is refusing to pay for her higher education because she refused to stop dating black student Michael Swift. She set up a GoFundMe page on Wednesday 11 January and surpassed her $10,000 goal within 24 hours.
Three days later, Dowdle has received a further $20,000 from supporters around the world. At 3pm GMT on 16 January she had totalled $31,920, triple her target, from 1,290 donors.
Yet from the get-go she also received a swathe of criticism in the comments section of the GoFundMe page including the accusation that "expecting to avoid work, student loans, etc and be treated like a hero for dating a black guy seems pretty racist". Comments for the page have now been disabled, presumably by the page administrator, Dowdle.
In her online pitch to donors, she wrote: "I'll never forget the yelling my parents did, when they expressed how disappointed they were in me [for dating Swift], that I could do so much better. I did not know what to do. I couldn't comprehend how someone could be seen as less because of pigment."
Another critical comment on the campaign page, now removed by the administrator, read: "This campaign is an absolute insult to the millions of people who have been supporting themselves (and their families) for years, even before 'they were 18', the millions of people struggling with student loan debt, the millions of people of color who are confronted with the behemoth that is racism everyday."
Her father has denied that he is punishing her because she has a black boyfriend. "It was never about race," he told the New York Daily News, before admitting that Swift was not his ideal son-in-law because of "issues" associated with interracial relationships in Tennessee.
Swift is older than Dowdle and now attends Clemson University in South Carolina. He and Dowdle are FaceBook friends and her GoFundMe page shows the two of them posing intimately at a formal engagement.
Dowdle did not respond to a request for comment and it is unclear whether she plans to keep the money raised beyond her $10,000 target or donate it to a charitable cause.